May is National Stroke Awareness Month and we’re taking the time to remind everyone that there are steps you can take to help prevent and reduce your risk of stroke.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of adult disability1,2. About 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year.2 One American dies from a stroke every 4 minutes, on average.2
While the following information is helpful for stroke prevention, it’s also important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association both share informative tips and education on quickly identifying stroke warning signs as well as how to what to do if you suspect someone is having a stroke.
How to Help Prevent Stroke
The CDC focuses on two key areas when it comes to preventing stroke. These areas involve making healthy lifestyle choices and being aware of medical conditions.
Healthy lifestyle choices include:
- Getting enough exercise.
- Not smoking.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Limiting alcohol use.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
Medical Conditions include: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and previous history of stroke.
Getting Enough Exercise
Being active daily can help you sustain a healthy weight and decrease cholesterol and blood pressure levels. The Surgeon General advises that adults get 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking, each week. It’s recommended that children and teens get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day. For more information, see CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Web site.
Cigarette smoking significantly raises your risk for stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you are a smoker, it’s been proven that quitting the habit will reduce your risk for stroke. See your doctor or medical provider for ways to help you quit.
For more information about tobacco use and quitting, see CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site.
Selecting healthy meal and snack alternatives can help you prevent stroke and its complications. Remember to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.Consuming foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol but also high in fiber can help you avoid high cholesterol. Another way to help lower and maintain blood pressure is by limiting the salt (sodium) in your diet.To get more details on healthy diet and nutrition, see CDC’s Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program Web site.
Monitor or Decrease Alcohol Intake
Drinking can increase your blood pressure. A good rule of thumb to remember: Men should not have more than 2 drinks per day, and women only 1. For more information, visit CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health Web site.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Research shows that being overweight or obese raises your risk for stroke. If you are unsure whether or not your weight is in a healthy range, take a look at how doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can determine your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight Web site. Medical professionals will also often use waist and hip measurements to measure excess body fat.
If you already have certain health conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or other medical concerns requiring medication, it’s critical that you have these things monitored and checked on a regular basis. Be sure to keep all appointments with your doctor so that you can be your healthiest. You view tips on how to keep updated on your current health conditions on the CDC’s website dedicated to preventing stroke.
*References provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Arias E. Mortality in the United States, 2013. NCHS Data Brief, No. 178. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept. of Health and Human Services; 2014.
- Mozzafarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015:e29–322.
Tips to Control Mindless or “Bored” Eating
Do you sometimes find yourself in the kitchen right after dinner looking for something to eat? Do you sometimes find yourself mindlessly eating a bag of chips after a tense call from a client?
Before you put another bite of food in your mouth, ask yourself “why!” Are you bored? Stressed? Tired? Anxious? You may be eating out of habit and not because you are hungry.
Use your Walkingspree Food Tracker to track what you eat and when. Look for connections between the two and ask yourself honestly, “Am I eating this because I’m hungry or bored/stressed/fill-in-the-blank.”
If you find you are eating out of habit, then you need to form a different habit that doesn’t involve food.
- If you sit and eat while watching TV, try knitting or crocheting, or using your treadmill.
- If you go straight to the kitchen for a snack after work, change your clothes and take a walk.
- If you go to the fridge mindlessly, get a glass of ice water instead.
- If you grab a candy bar at work, take a 5-10 minute walk around the building.
Small changes add up. Do something else every day and soon you will form a healthy new habit!
Things to do instead of eating
Here are some more tips for you to try the next time you want to eat, but are not really hungry.
- Go for a walk
- Call a friend
- Brush your teeth
- Take a drive
- Read a book
- Get up and stretch
- Vacuum or sweep
- Organize a drawer or shelf
- Write a note to a friend
- Weed the garden
- Organize photos, DVDs, etc.
- Clean off your computer desktop
- Play cards or a board game
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle
- Work on a hobby
- Shoot hoops or practice your golf swing
- Drink a glass of cold water or a cup of hot tea
- Chew some gum
Planning your summer vacation (or staycation)? How about making it a walking vacation?!
Guided walking tours run the gambit, from architecture to history to shopping to haunted houses! After deciding on your destination, check with the local tourism bureau for river walks, hiking trails or guided tours. Most museums offer self-guided tour material and maps, and some even offer audio-guided tours for a fee.
Another great resource for self-guided walking tours is Volkssports or IVV clubs. (Google: ivv walks)
Volkssports, meaning “people” sports, are non-competitive fitness groups that originated in Europe. The American Volkssport Assocation’s website says “Volkssporting is an international sports phenomenon that promotes personal physical fitness and good health by providing fun-filled, safe exercise in a stress-free environment through self-paced walks and hikes, bike rides, swims, and in some regions cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Walking is the most popular of all U.S. volkssporting activities and has been identified by the U.S. Surgeon General as the most beneficial form of exercise.”
These walking clubs have associations in the U.S., Canada and Europe, and offer a wealth of information about permanent trails selected by club members. The trails may go through scenic or historic areas, and may be in cities, towns, parks, or rural areas.
How about these ideas for a walking vacation?
- The Royal London Trail from Hyde Park, to Kensington, past Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square in England.
- Enjoy more than 120 pieces of art at the Benson Sculpture Gardens in Loveland, Colorado.
- Following the San Antonio Riverwalk through the King William District, past The Menger Hotel, where Theodore Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders, an onto the “The Alamo.” (San Antonio also has “ghost tours” where participants can walk from location to location downtown in hopes of encountering paranormal activity).
- Vist west Texas and walking the grounds around and up in the hills surrounding Ft. Davis where the settlers heading west would stop for rest, refuge and supplies.
Throughout the year, individual clubs also organize walking events designed for all fitness levels. No membership is required and it is a great way to experience your destination.
Don’t forget to:
- Pack sunblock and insect spray.
- Wear a hat, a good pair of sunglasses and your pedometer.
- Carry water and snacks.
- Don’t overdo it, take regular breaks and remember you have to walk back!
Botanical gardens, sculpture gardens, zoos … oh, so many opportunities to get your 10,000 steps a day!Leave a Comment »
Strawberries are one of the first fruits to hit the stands when it warms up and heads into summer months. Many states are already enjoying these magical tasting fruits and if you are having a family get together in Mom’s honor this weekend, you just might want to bring dessert. See our recipe, straight from the Walkingspree Food Tracker, below.
Strawberries aren’t just delicious. They also have health benefits similar to the benefits we get from walking. These yummy red berries help protect against heart disease, help regulate blood sugar and decrease risk of type 2 diabetes, plus reduce the risk of certain cancers such as breast, cervical, colon and esophageal.
So, it’s a heart-shaped gem and a powerhouse of nutrition. A cup of strawberries contains twice as much Vitamin C as an orange, almost 150 percent of the recommended daily requirement. They’re an excellent source of manganese for a healthy heart and bones, fiber to lower blood pressure, curb overeating, and they contain antioxidants known as polyphenols which reduce the risk of heart disease. They contain no sodium, fat or cholesterol and are low in calories – just 50 per cup (about 8 large strawberries.)
Strawberries are an easy way to keep your healthy eating commitment. Add them to your cereal in the morning, put them in a spinach salad at lunch, or enjoy a bowlful topped with a dollop of plain yogurt for dessert.
There is nothing in this world like a fresh picked strawberry. Make sure you search out this special summer treat. June is also National Strawberry Month so plan ahead and search out your favorite recipes. And remember: if you are getting together for a family meal or Sunday afternoon lunch with the mothers in your life, the strawberry sorbet recipe below is sure to please.
Homemade Strawberry Sorbet
· 3-3/4 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
· 2 tbsp lemon zest
1. Puree strawberries in a blender or food processor.
2. Blend in the remaining ingredients
3. Pour into a bowl or deep dish, cover, and freeze for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Makes 8 servings.
Total Fat: 0.24g
Sat Fat: 0.013g
Total Carbs: 20g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
Recipe Source: Walkingspree Food Tracker
Photo Source for Sorbet: thebittenword.comLeave a Comment »
With summer approaching and daylight savings time also in effect, many of us will stay out later. We’ll exercise later in the day or schedule our walks for cooler hours. For those of in the more southern states, if we miss walking in the early morning hours, we end up needing to walk in the evening when it’s cooler just to avoid blazing hot temperatures after 8:00 am in the morning.
With these things in mind, we want to encourage you to enjoy the warmer, sun filled days and also give you a few practical, common sense tips to help you see and be seen while walking at night.
- Carry a flashlight to illuminate your path and help drivers see you. Consider clipping a “book” light or other small light on the back of your jacket.
- Walk in well lit areas and on routes you are familiar with. You need to know where the curbs and uneven surfaces are.
- Wear reflective material when walking at dusk or at night. Don’t rely on one strip of reflective tape on your leg or arm.
- Face oncoming traffic and stay on designated walkways and paths when possible. When a car approaches, move out of the way.
- Always assume drivers will not see you, especially when crossing a street. Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you.
- Use popular walking routes. Drivers in that area may already be on the lookout for pedestrians. But again, don’t assume that every driver is familiar with the area. Share your walking route and what time you expect to return with someone you trust.
- Be aware of engine noises and backup lights, cars backing out of driveway and parking lots.
- Don’t use headphones or talk on the phone. Don’t get distracted.
- Walk with a buddy or take Fido with you. There is safety in numbers and company can make the time pass.
- Wear a whistle or carry a small alarm to attract attention if you need help.